Réserve de Lopé, Okanda, Gabon

Lounge on the observation platform above the forest elephants, gorillas and antelopes.

Smack bang on the equator, Gabon’s calling card doesn’t disappoint. Undulating hills meet scrubby patches of savannah and enclaves of rain forest where elephants, buffalo, gorillas and some of the biggest mandrill troupes in the world can be found. There are vehicle and foot safaris (from CFA5000) on offer and there’s an eco-museum near the park entrance.

The train from Libreville takes between six and eight hours, depending on whether it’s an express or not. Lopé Hotel vehicles meet the train, which often arrives in the middle of the night. It’s best to book in advance as Lopé is a tiny one-horse town with little or no tourist infrastructure, and not a good place to be stranded.

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